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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 7, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 41
New LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project debuts Oct. 10
Section One
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New LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project debuts Oct. 10

by Peter Kelley - Courtesy of UW News and Information

The multifaceted Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, in the University of Washington Department of History, has an important new component - the LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project. http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/lgbtq_intro.htm

There will be a public launch of the new project on Monday, Oct. 10, at 7pm, in Room 340 of the HUB, and the public is invited.

The project was compiled by Kevin McKenna, UW doctoral student in history. It details and documents the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activism in Seattle and Western Washington with a narrative history, photos, oral histories, a timeline and catalog of area LGBTQ activist organizations.

'Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people have been visible and politically active in Seattle for generations. Their activism has yielded pioneering civil rights victories,' McKenna writes on the website. He notes that the Seattle City Council was 'quicker than most municipal governments in acknowledging and passing protections for the gay community on the heels of gay liberation,' adopting an ordinance against employment discrimination in 1973 and a housing nondiscrimination ordinance in 1975.

But serious issues still face Seattle and King County's LGBTQ communities, McKenna adds. 'Even in King County, queer youth continue to face disproportionate rates of homelessness, mental health issues and domestic violence, and trans people are far more likely to live in poverty than cisgendered people.'

The timeline of activism - commissioned by the UW's Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, runs from the mid-19th century to Seattle's 2013 election of its first openly gay mayor. The site's listing of dozens of LGBTQ organizations in the area is something of a timeline, too, beginning in the 1960s and the 1967 founding of the Dorian Society, 'the first and only homophile organization in Seattle.'

'It is an exciting set of resources that show for the first time the generations of activism that changed rights and attitudes in Seattle and made it possible for the city to claim, justifiably, to have produced sequences of pioneering legislation including one of the nation's first nondiscrimination laws,' said James Gregory, UW professor of history and director of the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project.

The LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project is supported by the Department of History, the Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project, UW Libraries, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and other UW units, as well as and 4Culture, for King County.

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